Forget Beanie Babies and Furbies. Kids across the country are currently losing it over Hatchimals, an interactive "animal" toy that hatches out of an egg. Many parents hoping to be temporary superheroes this winter are wondering, can you still get Hatchimals for Christmas? The bad news is that the toys are mostly sold out, and the ones being re-sold online on sites like eBay and Amazon are going for ridiculous prices.
In case your child hasn't already forced you to watch multiple videos of Hatchimals, here's a quick summary of the (somewhat inexplicable?) craze. The toys are made by Spin Master, which also created Etch-a-Sketch and Tamagotchi. Hatchimals come in a few different "species" like Owlicorns and Draggles, and they arrive in an egg. A new Hatchimal owner can spend some time petting and rubbing the egg until, slowly, the little robotic animal inside of it pushes its way through the shell. Once hatched, the animal "grows," and learns to sing, talk, walk, and more.
The toys retail for between $50 and $70 at places like Target, Walmart and Toys R Us. But they've mostly flown off the shelves at those retailers, and while there's a chance that the mega-stores will restock a little bit between now and Christmas, parents who can't bear the idea that their children might have to go Hatchimal-less this holiday season are turning to sites like Amazon and eBay.
And that's where prices get a little crazy. Many of the animals for sale on Amazon are priced at over $200, while eBay has a few Hatchimals in the $100 range, but also a whole bunch creeping up towards $500, while the auctions can get even more expensive.
But what's a frantic parent to do, besides max out a credit card in an eBay auction? (Seriously, don't do that. Many reviews of the toy say it's not worth it in the end, and that once the egg hatches, some kids could find the toy a little boring real fast.)
You can sign up on tracking sites like Zoolert and NowInStock.net to get an alert when new Hatchimals become available online, although those sites don't tell you about in-store availability. You can call your local Target every day before Christmas to see if things have changed. (But be warned, the employees there are not thrilled about the influx of calls they've been receiving.)
Alternatively, you can just wait until 2017. In a message on the Hatchimals website, the company acknowledges that sales exceeded its wildest dreams, and that officials "are working on creative solutions to help kids and their parents withstand the wait." Meanwhile, the company has increased production, and expects to have a whole bunch of new toys ready for the new year.
2017 looks poised to be the year of the Hatchimal.